It surprises me how much of casual communication is about desired tone. I’m noticing this lately in possible responses to “Damn, it’s cold! What happened to global warming?”
Once that question has been directed at me, I have three obvious options. I rule out the first, because people who say “Damn it’s cold!” to me are not trying to mug or murder me and therefore I have no right to punch them in the throat. Your mileage may vary, of course. Trust no one.
Then there’s option two, morally acceptable but still rude. As with most such options, it begins with “Well, actually…” and ends as an XKCD comic. Yeah, I’d be correct. But I like to hoard easy wins against the time when I will make a mistake and need to be forgiven.
To that end, I fall back on the one improvisational comedy technique I know: “Yes, and.” No matter how inane the statement that just emerged from my neighbor/coworker/family member’s mouth, I agree with it. Then, operating on the assumption that that is a true fact, I state something which might also be true in that universe. “Yes, so cold! Have you seen the GIF of the cat falling into snow in slow motion? That’s how I feel when I step outside.” Note: I am in Florida, and lying.
The third response’s tone allows the exchange to end quickly and politely. But selecting it requires a wildly different response from
something that would make sense the other two.
I finished the story I started editing last month, and I’ve decided to square away the second one before I start in on the novel. The next story is told from the point of view of the second POV character in the novel, so I’d like to be equally immersed in both voices before I get into the rewrite.
Hope you all survived the ice. If you didn’t, please email me. A ghost pen pal would be fantastic.